BEVERLY — The folks at Endicott College didn’t have to search very far to find a figure they knew could inspire the future students who will live in their latest residence hall.
The Beverly college found one of the ALS community’s most inspirational men just around the corner, and officially broke ground on Pete Frates Hall on the school’s Hale Street campus Wednesday afternoon.
Frates, a Beverly native, was the driving force behind the Ice Bucket Challenge that went viral in the summer of 2014 and has been battling Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease, for almost four years.
A banner at the ceremony explained simply the type of influence a name such as Frates will have for future Endicott students, reading, “Few people can inspire the world — You did.”
“We are honored to recognize Pete and name this facility for him,” Endicott president Richard Wylie said. “His strong personal and professional values make him a role model whose name and reputation should be preserved for generations.”
The Frates family and the city of Beverly are also in the process of building and upgrading Pete’s Park at Lynch Park, just a mile from the Endicott campus.
“We have Pete, and now you will have Pete,” Nancy Frates, Pete’s mom, said in her remarks at the groundbreaking. “We are so happy and proud to share this with our new Endicott family.”
A graduate of St. John’s Prep and Boston College, Pete Frates has been an advocate for ALS research and awareness since his diagnosis in 2012. He was joined at Wednesday’s ceremony by his family, including wife Julie and young daughter Lucy. She’ll have a place in the hall named for her dad when she grows up, Wylie quipped.
“We have reserved a room in this hall for you and a full scholarship,” he said. “You can pick the best room in the house.”
Pete Frates Hall is scheduled to open in the fall of 2016 and is the third of the residence halls on the east side of the school’s campus. It will house 225 undergraduate students.
Sports writer Matt Williams may be contacted at 978-338-2669 or MWilliams@salemnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattWilliams_SN.